DETROIT -- Lexus has canceled its annual dealer meeting this year to save costs for the company and dealers.
Division General Manager Mark Templin said that instead of one big meeting, Lexus executives will hold four regional meetings.
Our dealers want to be in their dealerships working, Templin said during an interview here at the auto show. And we want them in their dealerships.
This will save them time and the cost of airfare. We will save a substantial amount of money but will put it back into things like marketing.
Lexus U.S. sales fell 21.0 percent last year, but the division retained its position as the No. 1 U.S. luxury-vehicle brand, narrowly ahead of BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
Lexus is introducing two vehicles this year -- a dedicated hybrid sedan and a small IS coupe convertible. In addition, the companys best-selling RX crossover has been redesigned.
Templin said he thinks those three vehicles will help revive sales. Each will get a strong advertising launch, he said.
When we start to see growth again, the near-luxury is where you will see it, Templin said.
Although Lexus will be cutting costs this year, he said, the customer will not feel it.
We will not be backing off any customer amenities, such as dealer loaners, Templin said.
Toyota Division also will not hold a 2009 annual dealer meeting. Toyota says it will save about $1 million by holding regional meetings.